Xavier coach Chris Mack announced Thursday that he has indefinitely suspended senior guard Myles Davis — two weeks after it became known that the double-digit scorer faces multiple charges stemming from incidents with an ex-girlfriend.
“Playing basketball for Xavier is a privilege, and we have high expectations for how our student-athletes represent our university,” Mack said. “Unless Myles meets those expectations he will not be a part of our program.”
Simply put, this is the right move.
In fact, it’s the only move.
College football and basketball coaches have long contracts worth millions of dollars, and it makes no sense to risk that — or your reputation — by standing stubbornly strong next to a player accused of violent behavior involving a woman in a post-Art Briles world. If the incredibly successful Baylor football coach can lose his job for running a program that, among other things, didn’t properly punish players accused of violent behavior involving women, any coach can lose his job for not properly punishing players accused of violent behavior involving women. Thus, practically speaking, this is the way all coaches should handle similar situations. When you have a player accused of violent behavior involving a woman, he must be suspended or dismissed until or unless the accusations are deemed uncredible.
If the accusations lead to nothing, and you want to bring him back, bring him back.
That’ll usually be fine.
But the days of innocent-till-proven-guilty for college athletes accused of violent behavior involving women are over. Like Mack said, hooping is not a right. It’s a privilege. And the wise move for all coaches is to take away that privilege, at least temporarily, when players are accused of violent behavior involving women because, if they don’t, they could be creating a dangerous culture that might eventually cost them a million-dollar contracts.
Don’t believe me?
Ask Art Briles.
FIVE OTHER THINGS ON GP’S MIND
1. Our Candid Coaches question about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump received a lot of attention over the past few days — specifically the fourth quote in the “Five Quotes That Stood Out” section of the column. I’ve had countless people ask me to identify that coach. And I’d love to. That quote was really thoughtful and just terrific. But we annually promise complete anonymity for this series. And we can’t break that promise. So the thoughtful coach will remain nameless.
2. I said it on this week’s Eye on College Basketball podcast, but it’s worth repeating: the three names we heard most regularly in favorable ways throughout our Candid Coaches series were Tom Izzo, Bill Self and Tony Bennett. And that makes sense because even though those guys are very different from each other, they’re similar in the sense that they’re all highly respected basketball coaches who are also almost universally liked. In other words, you’ll rarely hear another coach bad-mouth Izzo, Self or Bennett. And I think that fact led to a lot of answers to the questions asked.
3. UNLV securing a commitment from forward Troy Baxter this week is a great late pickup for first-year coach Marvin Menzies, if only because it’s rare to land a consensus top-100 prospect just two months before the start of a season. But UNLV did it here with Baxter, who originally signed with USF. And it’s a big development for the Mountain West program because UNLV is returning very little from last season, and the Runnin’ Rebels lost a top-100 prospect when Class of 2016 standout Jaylen Fisher decommitted and enrolled at TCU once UNLV didn’t offer former assistant Ryan Miller the full-time job.
4. I hated the timing of Andrew White’s decision to leave Nebraska because it really did leave Tim Miles in a tough spot in an unusual time of the calendar. And if I were Miles, I’d be furious. But I do like that the NCAA gives college graduates the option to transfer and play a final season wherever they choose without penalty because it’s an obvious incentive for student-athletes to, you know, graduate. That’s not a bad thing. So I have no issue with White, after graduating from Nebraska, deciding to spend his final year of eligibility playing for Syracuse. But, yeah, it would’ve been cool if he’d decided it several months ago.
5. Big 12 expansion continues to be a huge story in more than a dozen markets, and the reports about this school making a cut and that school missing a cut have turned it into some sort of weird reality show. What I keep wondering is why the league decided to handle it this way. Why announce on a conference call that you’re expanding? Wouldn’t it have been easier, and less messy, to just decide behind closed doors that you’re going to expand, then approach the obvious candidates for expansion, and then extend invitations? Making this so public hasn’t been good for anybody, I don’t think. But it has been fascinating to watch.
FINAL THOUGHT: The Colin Kaepernick story has dominated sports over the past week, and it got me thinking about how college basketball coaches would react if one of their players wanted to sit or kneel during the national anthem in protest of an issue that’s important to them.
So I texted 10 different coaches — some white, some black — about it Friday morning.
Five told me that, under no circumstances, would they allow a player to protest in that way. Three told me they’d keep an open mind but strongly suggest that the player find a different way to bring awareness to his chosen issue. And two told me they’d probably allow it … but only if the player could intelligently explain why he feels the way he feels and why he’s doing what he’s doing.
I thought this was interesting.
If nothing else, it highlights the difference between pro coaches and college coaches. Most pro coaches are not going to get involved with telling players how to protest. But college coaches tend to have much more control over every aspect of a student-athlete’s life, and that’s why you probably won’t see Kaepernick’s way of bringing attention to the issue of police brutality trickle down to collegiate sports.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Xavier coach Chris Mack did the right thing when he suspended his star player